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Joel-Peter Witkin 
The Raft of G.W. Bush 
Gelatin silver print, toned 
h: 29.4 x w: 35 in / h: 74.7 x w: 88.9 cm 
Etherton Gallery 
Signed, titled, dated, numbered verso on mount.
The Raft of George Bush" is a contemporary "Ship of Fools" which has as its pictorial basis, the "Medusa" of Gericault. Bush sits lost in his grand ideas, shown as small electric lights. His left hand rests on the large, perfect breast of "Condi" Rice. This, the most powerful woman on earth, is merely a mouth-piece, a token blackie who dresses in haute coutre. Above Bush is his mother, Barbara, basking in the light, the myth of Republicanism. At her feet is Defense Secretary Rumsfeld crushed by the defeat of Iraq. Colin Powell wears the wreath of militarism and the dollar sign vision he now lives for, after lying to the world at the United Nations. Powell taps Bush on the shoulder to make him aware of their rescue. Vice President Cheney and his wife express joyful rapture in their deliverance. Dick Cheney, a "whatever it takes to succeed" type, is dressed in a gown and bra, reminiscent of the cowardly men on the sinking Titanic who dressed as women in order to save themselves. Below the mast is a religious figure representing Theocracy and Priest-pederasts. Has the young man below him received spiritual comfort or oral sex. The angry angel, wearing a bra of tea cups, holds a large bone signifying cannibalistic capitalism, that charnel house of our dismal social progress. All the other models in this tableaux are posed as characters in the Gercault painting with the exception of the black African named Cyril, who waves to the ship. All the other men are M.T.V. and Big Mac prodigals with the soft bodies and minds of corporate culture. - JP Witkin 

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